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For the Whole of Their Life.

Why Our Students Learn How to Learn

Posted 12th March 2020
By Belle Holliday-Williams

The St Philip’s Christian College Whole of Life Framework – Why Our Students Learn How to Learn.

In a recent Year 12 Software Design and Development class, whilst working on a group project studying current technologies, approaches and advancements in software development, one of my students (whose goal is to study Software Engineering at University next year) made an insightful comment. He said “The current technologies and advancements in Software Engineering will not be current for long. By the time we enter University, there is a good chance that what we are studying now will be outdated or superseded.” How right he was!

This truth leads to an important question for School Educators. How do Schools prepare students for success in life beyond Year 12 in this rapidly changing technological landscape? It is clear that the purpose of schooling must move beyond just information transfer, retention and recall. Schools must teach students how to learn, growing transferable skills and habits that will equip them to succeed in an ever-changing and unpredictable world.

To address this issue, St Philip’s Christian College developed The Whole of Life Framework, a collection of 25 learning habits, categorised under our five St Philip’s Christian College Cultural Distinctives.

The development of the Whole of Life Framework was heavily influenced by the work of cognitive scientist, Professor Guy Claxton. The majority of research undertaken by Professor Claxton reflects his “fascination with learning and how people can get better at it”. He founded the Learning Power Approach, and states in his book, Powering Up Students, that the goal is to “develop all students as confident and capable learners - ready, willing, and able to choose, design, research, pursue, troubleshoot, and evaluate learning for themselves, alone and with others, in school and out.”

The 25 learning habits on the SPCC Whole of Life Framework are embedded throughout the curriculum, from Kindergarten to Year 12, and woven through teaching programs, lessons and learning activities. They are explicitly taught, discussed, assessed and celebrated in many areas of our educational program.

The Whole of Life Framework Learning Habits are integrated into our spiritual development program, student Chapel services, daily devotionals and Christian Studies classes. They are assessed, both formally and informally, and are the filter through which feedback is given to students. They are visible in our classrooms, as we equip our teachers with SPCC developed teaching resources. Our wider community also engages with the Learning Habits with employers of our Year 10 Work Experience students providing an evaluation of how well the students demonstrated of the Whole of Life Framework Learning Habits during their placement in the workforce.

My Year 12 Software Design and Development student was right in saying that curriculum content comes and goes. The information that is new and relevant today, will not stay new and relevant for long. However, the learning habits he developed throughout the project he was working on - including collaboration, communication, problem-solving, questioning, and investigating, will remain invaluable for a lifetime.

Aaron Batterham
Director of Innovation and Learning (K-12)

The Life

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